This is a video prepared by Saul Bass as a presentation to executives of his identity system for Bell System in the early 1970s. The first half is a fantastic primer on identity design and the second half (starting at around 13:00) is the identity pitch. A little long for today’s video-viewing standards but totally worth it.
With more than 2.4 million girl members, supported by nearly a million adult members working as volunteers, the Girl Scouts of the USA is the world’s biggest organization dedicated to girls — all girls as their description clarifies. Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts now counts with 100 councils across the United States that help girls find a troop to join, and even outside of the U.S., there are 90 countries helping 16,000 girls stay connected. But what we all know about the Girl Scouts around this blog is that its logo was designed by Saul Bass in 1978 and, like the rest of his identity work, it summed up brilliantly and succinctly the mission of the organization and the history behind it. Yesterday, the Girl Scouts unveiled a new identity by the newly formed New York design firm, Original Champions of Design (OCD). [Disclaimer: I worked for two years with one of its founders, Jennifer Kinon, while we were both at Pentagram.]
Yesterday, United and Continental Airlines, the third- and fourth-largest U.S. carriers respectively, announced they would be merging, creating the first-largest carrier. While the media focuses on numbers of flights, ramifications for shareholders and what will happen to customers’ frequent flyer miles we focus our attention on what really matters: The literal merger of two infinitely different brands. As I see it, United has always had the cooler, hipper personality with its Saul Bass-designed tulip icon and Pentagram-crafted wordmark (and livery) as well as its lovely mid-00s TV advertising campaign by Fallon. Continental, on the other hand and despite its globe logo having matching Saul Bass origins is, well, bland. Competent, but boring. Last updated by Lippincott in the early 1990s, making the globe more refined and the typography more formal. So how can these two identities come together? Well, rather painfully.